NSW assistant coach Laurie Daley says Michael Weyman was on the cusp of an Origin recall before a devastating knee injury prematurely ended his season.
St George Illawarra officials yesterday confirmed Weyman would be off the field until next year with a ruptured anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), suffered in the Dragons' golden-point loss to Penrith on Monday.
The bustling prop had a knee reconstruction yesterday afternoon.
Daley was shattered when Fairfax made him aware of Weyman's injury developments.
"That's not great news and I'm extremely disappointed after hearing that," Daley said.
"I think Mick was very close to a NSW jersey. We don't think he had to do too much more to be honest with you.
"He was playing good football and I'm sure he would have been a part of this year's Origin campaign somewhere along the line."
Daley predicted Weyman's extended sidelining to have huge ramifications at the Dragons.
Weyman's omission only tightens the squeeze on the club's depleted forward rotation, already without the likes of Beau Scott (elbow), Josh Miller (cheek), Matt Prior (suspension), Ben Creagh and Trent Merrin (both Origin).
The Dragons also confirmed yesterday veteran utility Nathan Fien would be sidelined for at least three weeks with a knee injury.
"Mick getting injured will be a massive blow for the Dragons. It puts a lot more pressure on Dan Hunt and a couple of their other guys because he always leads them in that department," Daley said.
"He's a hard-working guy, gets over the advantage line, carries the ball forward. All the blokes respond to that and get behind his charges."
Daley's concerns were echoed by Creagh, who described Weyman's form as the "best of his career".
"Mick's been one of the best players in our team this year," he said.
"He's been playing, I think, the best footy of his career. He's going to be a big loss and it's a shame he won't be back until next year."
Weyman was understandably dejected after learning of the extent of his injury.
The 27-year-old texted Fairfax yesterday, saying he'd "been better" but "that's life".
"It's disappointing news but that's part of life and football in general so I can only move forward and start the recovery process," Weyman said.
"The team, though, has plenty of depth to work with including a few young players, so overall we will be in good stead whoever takes to the field."
The former Canberra Raider has endured more than most on the injury front, overcoming groin and hip complaints to fulfil his first grade, state and national representative honours. The Moruya junior looked to have finally earned a reprieve this season, putting forward some of the strongest performances of his career.
Off the field, Weyman celebrated the birth of his first child, Lila, only two weeks ago.
"He has had a lot of adversity early in his career with injuries and so forth but he seemed to really recover from that and move on," Daley said.
"I think he's shown in the past that he's able to overcome serious injuries. Unfortunately for Mick, an ACL is just one of those things that knocks you around.
"I really love Horse, I'm a bit down for him. There's a lot more worse things that can happen but given what he's been through, the way that he was playing and the bloke that he is, it's just disappointing."